An amulet, small-scale Egyptian figurines, were thought to promote health and good luck that they were worn by both the living and the dead.

Egyptian rock crystal hippopotamus amulet

Egyptian rock crystal hippopotamus amulet

The face of this unique rock crystal hippopotamus amulet is carved with naturalistic features, the heavily proportioned body surmounted by an integral suspension loop with a modern gold wire added. It was used as a protective charm or symbol in ancient Egyptian culture.

Shrine Amulet. British Museum. EA59402

Shrine Amulet

Green glazed steatite amulet in the form of a naos or a shrine. A naos (Greek ναός “temple, shrine”) is the descriptive name given to Egyptian hieroglyph Gardiner O18 (see below). Within the inner shrine, an aegis of a leonine (lion) goddess remains. Each side of the shrine is decorated with representations of the leonine...

golden scarab dates from approximately 1980–1801 B.C., during the Middle Kingdom period of Ancient Egypt

Middle Kingdom Scarab

This golden scarab dates from approximately 1980–1801 B.C., during the Middle Kingdom period of Ancient Egypt. It was purchased from Mohammed Mohasseb and Son, in Luxor, by Lucy Olcott Perkins through Henry W. Kent and now resides at the Cleveland Museum of Art. It is 1.1 cm and weighs 1.6 g (0.06 oz.). The scarab...

Heart Scarab of Hatnefer

Heart Scarab of Hatnefer

The heart scarab of Hatnefer is an exceptionally fine example of this type of funerary equipment and is comparable to those made for contemporary royalty. Every feature of the scarab beetle is carefully rendered. The exquisite chain is made of gold wire, plaited in a quadruple-link pattern. The scarab’s base is engraved with a version...

Blue faïence stars on string. Met Museum. 22.1.1298 Colourised by

Star amulets

This collection of stringed blue faïence star amulets was found at el-Lisht, the funerary site of Middle Kingdom royal and elite burials. The region was originally excavated by the French Egyptologist Gaston Maspero in 1882. The stringed star amulets were discovered in 1920-22, during the MMA excavations taking place at the time. They could date...

Faience Hedgehog Figurine

Faience Hedgehog Figurine

Blue-green faience hedgehog figurine with black spots on elliptical base, both left legs slightly advanced and modeled freely in the round. Back is scored in grid pattern and bumpy to simulate quills. When food is scarce, hedgehogs retreat into underground dens for long periods, to re-emerge only in times of abundance. The Egyptians associated this...

Faience Frog Amulet

Frog Amulet

This faience frog amulet was probably placed next to a woman to safeguard her during childbirth. The combination of deep blue and turquoise typifies objects from the time of Amenhotep III. In antiquity, as today, the croaking of frogs was often the first sound heard each morning in Egypt. These amphibians were thus associated with...

Humanoid Heart Scarab

Humanoid Heart Scarab Amulet

The so-called “heart scarabs” had to protect the heart of the deceased. According to ancient Egyptians, the heart contained the intellect and emotions. For this reason, it should have been preserved in the Afterlife as well. Heart scarabs were very popular amulets. Positioned on the chest of the mummy, they usually take the shape of...

Nile Catfish Pendant

Nile Catfish Pendant

This fish pendant represents a Synodontis Batensoda, more commonly known as the Nile catfish, a species of fish named for its black belly. Often worn at the end of a plait of hair, amulets like this one were used by children and young women to protect against drowning. This fine amulet is made of gold...

Amulet of Hedgehog

Scaraboid Hedgehog Amulet

Scaraboid amulet of a cute little hedgehog. Hedgehogs were common on amulets in the New Kingdom (1500s–1000s BC) and can also be seen on the backs of seals and scaraboids. Although never very common, hedgehog amulets have a long history in ancient Egypt, with their popularity peaking in the New Kingdom. These amulets functioned as...